Ian Somerhalder has eyebrows that will always guarantee his employment in certain types of straight-to-DVD titles. I first noticed this in The Rules of Attraction, in which he seemed to play the surliest, most outrageous Abercrombie & Fitch model of all time. There’s just something about his eyes, the depth of his stubble and, most certainly and strikingly, the definition and angle of those peeper-toppers that make Somerhalder, formerly of Lost, the perfect “get” for the producers of swashbuckling genre movies that can’t quite get Matthew McConaughey to return their phone calls. Like Casper van Dien before him, Somerhalder has a dependable, soap opera-level skill set and matinee idol looks, meaning he can comfortably draw TV and movie-of-the-week paychecks for the next quarter-century easily, recession be damned. Ladies like that look, and he obviously puts in enough time in the gym to keep things working.
Wait… what were we talking about? Oh, right… the inherently employable features of Somerhalder’s visage. Which brings us to Lost City Raiders, a paint-by-numbers genre exercise to be sold off to foreign TV networks looking to pad their weekend schedules. The plot? In the near future, global warming has caused water levels rise to unfathomable heights, destroying port cities and consuming more than half of all land. With matters only getting worse, two treasure-hunting brothers (Somerhalder and Jamie Thomas King) must team up with their daring father John (James Brolin) to retrieve a lost artifact that will restore Earth to what it once was. Also in pursuit of said artifact is callous, brutal real estate tycoon Nicholas Filminov (Ben Cross), who really should change his name if he wants his villainy to be less conspicuous. With Al Gore nowhere in sight but eye candy Giovanna Becker (Bettina Zimmerman) thankfully in tow, brothers Jack and Thomas find themselves in a race against time to save the world from its end days.
In promotional text on the DVD’s cover, Marshall Fine is credited with tagging Lost City Raiders as “Waterworld meets Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which is accurate only in the broadest sense of that mash-up — there is an archeological-based quest, and lots of water. Not surprisingly, the special effects work here isn’t quite up to snuff with the sort of material with which master-of-disaster Roland Emmerich stuffs his frames, and consequently those predisposed to really get into and off on the material will likely find their fanboy enthusiasm dampened from the start. All in all, though, this is just a shrug — no better or worse than it sounds, or one might reasonably expect, given its players, production means and storyline. Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, Lost City Raiders comes to DVD presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound audio track and optional English and Spanish subtitles. A gallery of preview trailers is the only supplemental feature. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. C- (Movie) D (Disc)